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22 November 1999

New Inheritance Bill Proposed

After completing its study of a new inheritance bill, a government sub-committee is preparing to submit its new draft to the Justice Ministry in order to prepare a formal legislative proposal. According to the sub-committee's findings, the government should increase the amount of tax to be collected from property holders, but has deferred to the Justice Ministry to decide whether the tax should be collected from the estate or from the property holders. A meeting is currently scheduled for December 22, 1999.

Key points suggested by the sub-committee are as follows: 1) Property tax should be collected only from land and buildings with registered records.
2) Land and building owners with higher incomes should be taxed at a higher rate than those with lower incomes. .
3) Land and buildings for residential purposes should be either tax exempt or subject to reduced taxation. .
4) Inheritance tax will be charged on both moveable and non-moveable property both inside and outside the country. .
5) Members of the royal family, charitable organizations and donations to charitable and religious organizations shall be exempt from inheritance tax.


19 November 1999

King Petitioned by State Enterprise Workers

The State Enterprise Workers' Relation Confederation has formally petitioned His Majesty the King to block the State Enterprise Corporatization law. The petition states that the law invites foreign takeover of state utilities and is against national interests.The law has passed both the Lower and Upper houses of the legislature but has yet to be signed by the King.

Anti-Graft Initiatives

The new National Counter Corruption Commission (NCCC) law went into force yesterday with the goals of streamlining anti-graft inquiries and introducing wealth-reporting requirements. The New Commission replaces the former Counter Corruption Commission. Government officials hope that the new regime will enable the identification and prosecution of corrupt officials.

Under the previous framework, if the Counter Corruption Commission found evidence of wrongdoing, it was up to the individual state agency where the official was employed to make a final determination and take any necessary action or prosecution. Under the new NCCC, the agency's findings must be acted upon by the particular state agency and the NCCC's investigation summary can be used by the public prosecutor in Court.


17 November 1999

Foreign Residence Permits Approval

Foreigners will be granted residence in Thailand if they meet a set of criteria approved by the Cabinet yesterday. Categories include:

1) Foreigners eligible to work in Thailand as executives of juristic entities registered in Thailand for one year or more. The business must show that it has generated sufficient income to benefit Thailand. Specific rates apply for different types of businesses.
2) Investors must show investment of a minimum of 1o million baht, in a business that benefits Thailand and must not withdraw that investment for three years. .
3) Foreign academics and specialists needed by local organizations if they have references from concerned state agencies. .
4) Spouses of Thai citizens. If male, they must prove stable income. .
5) The wives, children, and parents over the age of sixty, of foreigners provided that the foreigner can show he earns a minimum of 40,000 baht a month. .
6) Retirees over the age of 55 provided that they have a stable income of at least 30,000 baht a month.

Cyber Law Passes Initial Approval

The Electronics Transactions Bill, first if six IT-related laws will be reviewed by Parliament next month following its approval by the National Information Technology Committee's approval. The proposed law would govern electronic transactions and make them equal to paper documents. the Director of NECTEC, the National Electronics and Computer Technology Committee, Dr. Thaweesak, stated that the adoption of this law would help speed up Thailand's progress in electronic commerce and increase the country's global competitiveness.


16 November 1999

Entertainment Worker Law

A draft bill concerning entertainment establishments will require the registration of all employees in entertainment establishments and the issuance of health certificates will be considered by the Cabinet soon. Under the new proposed law, government officials would be allowed greater monitoring of the operations of entertainment establishments. The goals of the proposed law would be to protect public safety and ensure that underage children would not be employed in such establishments.


12 November 1999

Permanent Body to Oversee Privatization

The government is establishing a permanent body to oversee and supervise the privatization process pursuant to the newly passed Corporatization law. With the Corporatization law in place, the government is able to proceed with the process of privatization. The Corporatization Act authorizes state enterprises to corporatize their assets into equity, which would enable them to mobilize funds from the capital market.


11 November 1999

Challenge to Corporatization Law Fails

The Constitutional Court ruled yesterday that the State Enterprise Corporatization Act does not violate the Constitution. The Act was challenged by leaders of state enterprise unions. The decsion upholding the law clears the way for the government to move forward in the privatization process.


8 November 1999

Court for Trying Corrupt Officials

A special court set up to try politicians accused of corruption has established. There are two three-judge benches. The court will be located on the fourth floor of the Bar Association Building. The court will handle criminal and civil cases and the seizure of assets of wrongdoing politicians.

CD Piracy Draft Bill

A bill to control the illegal production of audio and video CDs will be submitted to the Cabinet. The proposed legislation seeks to register CD producers and ensure that they produce only the products they apply for under their licenses. The need for production quotas has also been emphasized so that manufacturers will only produce the amount of CDs that they are authorized by copyright owners.

Presentation of the bill was in the wake of a scandal in which a shipment of pirated CDs was found at the residence of a prime minister official's residence. Representatives of the music industry have stated that only 30% of CDs on the market are legally produced.


28 October 1999

Thousands of Illegal CDs Seized

Over 4,700 pirated CDs were seized at house in Rachathewi yesterday. The majority of the CDs were movies but also found were pirated music and pornography. Montri Panghorm was charged with possession of the CDs.


21 October 1999

New Debt Cases Tallied

An additional 100 debt restructuring cases have entered the restructuring process sponsored by the Bank of Thailand (BOT). 800 major borrowers with loans over 1.5 trillion baht have been restructured by the Corporate Debt Restructuring Authority (CDRAC). In addition, 700 retail borrpwers with loans of 10 billion baht have also entered the process, bringint the total number of cases 2,200 with a cumulative loan amount of 40 billion baht.

New Alien Business Law passed by House

The House of Representatives endoresed the final version of the new Alien Business Law, the objective of which is to ease restictions on foreign companies doing business in Thailand. The Law is the last of the 11 key business reforms designed to aid economic recovery.

The decision is the last step in the amendment process of what was viewed as an overly restrictive law first enforced in the 1960 to protect local businesses from foreign competitors.

Passage of the bill was delayed by the Senate where it was contested by some senators having close links to local businesses.

The Act awaits final approval from His Majesty the King and thereafter will be entered into the Statute books.


20 October 1999

Mediation Center for Y2K Bug Disputes

A mediation center to help solve Y2K millenium bug problems has been established as a subsitute for the proposed Y2K bill rejected by the Cabinet last month. The Center will be staffed by representatives of the University Affairs Ministry, the Office of the Attorney General, the Consumer Protection Department, and the police.

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